Common Causes of Debt and How to Avoid Them

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Almost every household in the USA carries at least some debt. The simple explanation for debt is that you spend more money than you make, but there may be some less obvious factors that have contributed to your accumulation of debt. Taking the time to think about how you got into debt could help you avoid similar mistakes in the future. These are 6 of the most common causes of debt and how to avoid them:

1. Loss of Income

The sudden loss of a steady income can quickly lead to debt and financial troubles. You may be laid off, fired, or experience a decline in your personal business. You may need to take time away from work or leave the workforce completely to care for a child, an aging family member, or attend to your personal health needs. After the sudden loss of income, you may become overwhelmed by everyday expenses, and debt can easily build up.

One of the best ways to defend against this kind of debt is to build an emergency fund. In times of financial health, live below your means and put any extra money into savings. An emergency fund should be able to cover at least six months of expenses, so even if your income declines unexpectedly you will have the financial support you need to get back on your feet

2Medical Expenses

As one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in America, medical costs can easily push someone into debt totaling tens of thousands of dollars or more. With expensive treatments and high premiums, even those with health insurance can struggle with medical debt. When facing medical expenses, people will turn to savings or even credit cards to pay for their care. Since you can never predict what your health will be like in the future, it is best to take precautions now to prevent medical debt. Enroll in a good health insurance program. Even if paying for health insurance will cost you more now, trying to pay out of pocket for a medical emergency in the future could be financially devastating. You can also plan to include potential medical expenses in your emergency fund.

3. Expanding Families

The cost of raising a child is estimated to be around $250,000.00 from birth all the way through to adulthood. So, even if you feel you have plenty of extra money, having a kid can quickly change that. The new financial responsibility of raising a child can also be affected by the need for childcare. Paying for childcare can be so expensive that it can be cost prohibitive, causing some cases families to live on one income so one parent can stay home to care for the child(ren).

Whether you are a single-income or multiple-income home, the expenses of raising a child can quickly add up. Start saving before you have kids and prioritize saving throughout your child’s life. Prepare yourself by investigating the best childcare options for your specific financial situation before having children. Ideally, wait to have kids until your income will support adding a little one into the mix.

4. Divorce

A lot of financial changes take place after a divorce. With each person going from two incomes to one income and the added expenses of alimony, child support and legal fees, getting divorced can be very expensive. When facing divorce, it is important for couples to look critically at the financial impact of their decisions.

Often, the more amicable the split, the less likely it is that the divorce will have disastrous financial consequences for both people. If couples can agree to work together financially through a divorce, they can lower their legal costs and normally find more mutually agreeable results. Working through an arbitrator or divorce mediator can further save money on legal fees that accumulate when working within the court system. By working together, couples can come up with a solution that is financially best for everyone involved.

5. College Costs

For many young people today, crippling college debt has become the norm. Student loans add up quickly and sometimes recent graduates are not prepared to make the loan payments they accumulated getting their degree.

As a parent, you can help your future college graduate by starting to save for their college education as soon as possible. If you are student facing the expense of college alone, there are ways to reduce your student loan debts. Make smart choices about the schools you attend. Private schools may have the name or the prestige you think you need, but remember they offer the same degree that you will be getting from a state school. You also don’t have to start college right after high school or go to college full time. Working before and during college is a great way to offset expenses.

6. Lack of Insurance

Both in the case of individuals and businesses, not having adequate insurance can send people scrambling during an emergency. Home owners insurance, car insurance, and medical insurance can all make a huge difference when disaster strikes. Insurance is an essential aspect of financial planning. Take the time to understand your insurance policy. What does it cover? Would that coverage be enough to get you through an emergency? Being uninsured or under-insured can land you in huge debt if you are faced with a sudden unfortunate event.

 

It can be easy to fall into debt. Taking the time now to analyze your financial situation and plan for the future can reduce your risk of falling into the above debt traps. No two people have the same debt problem. At Veitengruber Law, we offer individualized debt management services to help you get back to financial health and security if you have occurred debt that you can’t seem to shake. We can also help you set up a plan to avoid accruing debt in the first place. Call us today at 732-852-7295 for your free debt management consultation!

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